Tag Archives: Gary Bettman

SPOTLIGHT: NHL REALIGNMENT

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

The New York Rangers could be seeing even more of the arch-rival Islanders if a realignment plan approved by the NHL Board of Governors on Monday night is implemented.

At the BOG meetings in Pebble Beach, Calif., the board approved a plan that eliminates the current two-conference, six-division setup in favor of a configuration that features four conferences based primarily on geography. Two conferences will have eight teams, the other two will have seven teams.

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TWO MINUTES from BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday had its highest overnight rating in 12 years.

That’s obviously good for the NHL, but when the numbers are broken down, it’s even better for Hartford.

The Vancouver Canucks‘ 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Raffi Torres‘ goal with only 18.5 seconds left generated a 3.2 overnight rating and 6 share, an increase of 14 percent compared to Game 1 last year between Philadelphia and Chicago (2.8/6). It was the best overnight for a Game 1 since 1999, when Buffalo against Dallas drew a 3.7 on Fox.

Not surprisingly, Boston was the top-rated market with a 25.5/39, the highest-rated NHL game in Boston dating to at least 1995 and topping the Boston rating for last year’s NBA Finals Game 1 featuring the Celtics and archrival Los Angeles Lakers (19.1/34). Munch on that number you basketball fans.

But the cities following Boston proved most interesting as two of the next three were AHL cities: No. 2 Providence (16.7/24) and No. 4 HARTFORD (5.5/8) surrounding Buffalo (7.2/11). No. 5 was Pittsburgh (4.3/7).

Yes, that Hartford, the capital of Connecticut. Maybe NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will finally have the decency to admit there’s an actual interest in hockey in a place where the NHL never should have left. I’m sure the NHL’s newest coach, Kevin Dineen of the Florida Panthers, would certainly agree.

FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

After a 15-year absence, the NHL is returning to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

After weeks of denial by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and other league officials, True North Sports and Entertainment announced a conditional purchase of the financially strapped Atlanta Thrashers. Lawyers worked through the night on deal, with the final piece put in place Tuesday morning. Bettman told reporters at a news conference in Winnipeg that he took a conference call with the principles at 4:30 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday.

True North, headed by billionaire David Thomson and Mark Chipman, negotiated with the Atlanta Spirit Group to buy the Thrashers, who reportedly lost more than $300 million since 2005. Thomson is Canada’s richest man and chairman of the news and information company Thomson Reuters. Chipman’s family owns auto dealerships and real estate in Manitoba, and Chipman is governor of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and former chairman of the executive committee of the AHL Board of Governors.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

Though NHL officials still deny a report the Atlanta Thrashers are about to relocate to Winnipeg, Manitoba, leading to the AHL’s Moose moving to St. John’s, Newfoundland, fans and officials in Atlanta might have already said and heard otherwise.

Only about 200 Thrashers fans showed up Saturday to tailgate outside Philips Arena for the team’s annual “select-a-seat” event held for current and potential season ticket holders to check out the seats, look at the ice and talk about the upcoming NHL draft. And it hardly helped that Harry the Hawk, the mascot of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks that are also owned by the Atlanta Spirit Group, rode up on a scooter, hopped off and handed out high-fives before stopping to put his mouth over the head of a bystanders wearing a Thrashers jersey.

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A SAD, SAD DAY… EJ McGUIRE DEAD AT 58

HartfordWHALE MOURN THE PASSING OF EJ McGUIRE

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Was the Wolf Pack’s First Head Coach

HARTFORD, CT: The National Hockey League today announced the loss of Edward John “EJ” McGuire, who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 58.

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PLAYER SAFETY FIRST

Nhl_logoAs you are most certain to have heard by now, the news coming out of Florida, where the NHL’s 30 General Managers are meeting to discuss a number of key issues, not the least of which are head shots and player safety, has been all good.

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